While it is important to evaluate your own business, it is equally important to evaluate your competition. Here are ten things you want to know about your competition if you want to keep up and even rise above them:
1. Identify your competitors - The first and most important aspect of checking out your competitors is to identify who they are. Start by doing an internet search of similar products or services. Search the local magazines and newspapers to get a feel for how many business of this type there are in your area.
2. Know their strengths - Knowing your competitors' strengths is important, as it can highlight your own weaknesses. If you know your competition’s strength then you will be able to improvise and be innovative with your own products and services.
3. Know their weaknesses - If you know your competitors' weaknesses, chances are you will be able to use that knowledge to maximize your company’s strengths.
4. Know their products, services, or goods - What products, goods, or services does your competition provide? Are they similar to yours? What unique twist might they offer on their services? How do they market them; is it through traditional advertising, online, or through video sales?
5. What their social media status looks like - Does your competition get many likes or comments as feedback on their blogs or websites? What social media channels are they on and what do their branding efforts look like?
6. Who owns this business and what kind of individual is he or she - Does the business owner stand out on the front line or behind corporate walls? Is the business owner someone who is philanthropic and altruistic? Does the persona of the business owner maximize its sales? Are they out in the public eye a lot?
7. What their price points are and are they competitive to yours - Do they have a lower price but cheaper quality as well? Do they mass produce, saving money for their customer? Are you able to compete with that?
8. Know their annual earnings (if this information is available) - Are their annual earnings public or private? Can you see their growth or decline in business over the last year?
9. Management analysis – Does this company or business have a quick turnaround of management professionals? If so, can you spot why and where their weaknesses are?
10. What types of guarantees and warranties do they put forth on their product or service - Does each competitor valiantly offer beneficial warranties and guarantees on their products and are their customers satisfied customers? Do their social media comments, tweets, and likes show happy consumers?
99% of the answers to these questions are published on the internet and easy enough to find. The other 1%, is important enough for you to dig and find out. COVID19 has caused a volatile market for startups (to say the least), fighting for your competitive edge is more important now than ever.